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Obama heads back to US after historic Latin America trip

US President Barack Obama (R) and First Lady Michelle Obama wave before boarding Air Force One at Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Ezezia, Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 25, 2016, ahead of their return to the United States. Obama headed back to the US after a historic trip to Latin America that saw him make a landmark visit to Cuba before continuing on to Argentina. JUAN MABROMATA / AFP

US President Barack Obama (R) and First Lady Michelle Obama wave before boarding Air Force One at Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Ezezia, Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 25, 2016, ahead of their return to the United States. Obama headed back to the US after a historic trip to Latin America that saw him make a landmark visit to Cuba before continuing on to Argentina. JUAN MABROMATA / AFP

US President Barack Obama headed back to the United States early Friday after a historic trip to Latin America that saw him make a landmark visit to Cuba before continuing on to Argentina.

Obama walked with his wife, Michelle, his two daughters and his mother-in-law down the tarmac at Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza International Airport, before Air Force One took off at 12:11 am (0311 GMT).

The first family changed planes at the airport, arriving on another jet after an afternoon in the Andean resort of Bariloche, where they went for a hike and boat ride in a national park. Obama also dined with his Argentine counterpart Mauricio Macri and wife Juliana Awada.

Obama’s two-day visit to Argentina coincided with the 40th anniversary of the US-backed coup that brought a 1976-1983 military regime to power.

Obama paid homage Thursday to victims of the dictatorship, admitting the United States was “slow to speak out for human rights” in those dark days.

Obama tried to present a softer side of US power during the trip, which took him first to Cuba, where he made a bid to turn the page on the Cold War, calling for freedom and democracy as he stood alongside the country’s Communist leaders.



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